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Patiently Persevering

Last month, when my family and I were in the weeks of blending our summer with the back-to-school regimen, we suddenly found a time when all of our calendars were mostly clear. Looking forward to some downtime, we chose to reserve a campsite and enjoy the lake.

On the way to the campsite, we came upon a truck partially parked off the roadway, and I slowed to ask if everything was okay. Standing next to the vehicle was a gentleman who was helping another man into the back seat. The gentleman replied, "Yes, we're just giving him a ride." The rider, who was wearing a crooked ballcap and appeared to be in his 30s, turned and smiled. I smiled back, nodded at the driver, and drove on to the gate to check in.

As I pulled up to our site a few moments later, the young man with the crooked ballcap was on the site next to ours, just finishing making camp. He was obviously well practiced. I exchanged polite salutations with "Josie," a kind man who seemed of modest means. Just before my family and I left, I asked him if he needed anything other than a bag of ice. Since he didn't have transportation, he was going to need ice for his perishables. He politely accepted my offer as his only need, and we bid each other goodnight.

The next day, my wife Vicky brought our cooler containing lunches and an extra bag of ice for our camp neighbor. He was very thankful. There was something very pleasant and comfortable about Josie. He mentioned he was "getting it (life) in order" and was at peace with God's plan and the pace that it was unfolding for him. It was refreshing.

As my family prepared to head home on the last day of our trip, I walked back over to Josie's tent to wish him well. He exited his tent with a small worn Bible in his hand. We spoke again for a moment, and I was about to turn and leave, but I paused to ask him if he needed anything else. He motioned upwards with a flick of his Bible and said, "Do you hear that?" I replied, "The birds? Yes, Josie, I hear them — and thank you." We understood.

"The believer looks at the birds in the sky, that do not reap nor gather into the barns, and trust that the Father will provide," (Matthew 6:26).

We smiled and parted ways. I left thinking that we all need to pause once in a while. Life is busy; it's hard and can beat up on us. Take a step back from this "get it now" culture to reflect on what is truly important. Just do your best and patiently persevere.

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